Police are ‘well equipped’ for EDL and TUC marches in Stevenage

Stevenage Chief Inspector Richard Harbon has said the police are well equipped to deal with two marc

Stevenage Chief Inspector Richard Harbon has said the police are well equipped to deal with two marches in the town on Saturday - Credit: Archant

A chief inspector is reassuring the public the police are “well equipped” to deal with two marches taking place in a town on Saturday.

The English Defence League (EDL) and the Stevenage and District Trade Union Congress (TUC) will both be marching through Stevenage, with more than 380 people confirmed on social networking site Facebook to attend the EDL’s rally.

The TUC march was organised in response to the presence of the EDL, a far-right group which protests about Islamic extremism but has been labelled as racist by others.

A Facebook group set up by the TUC called ‘Stevenage against the EDL’ has so far received 450 ‘likes’.

“We would like to reassure people that we are well equipped to deal with an event of this nature and we are working with Stevenage Borough Council to keep disruption to a minimum,” said Chief Inspector for Stevenage Richard Harbon.

“There will be a number of officers in the town who will be present to support a peaceful event and deal appropriately with any unlawful behaviour. There will also be some police horses around the town throughout the day. These have come from Thames Valley Police and are regularly used by other forces to assist local officers during these kinds of events.

“We would appeal to road users to be patient while the march is in progress and to find alternative routes if possible. Anyone with any concerns should call 101 or speak to any officer on patrol.”

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The EDL march is due to set off from Stevenage Old Town at around 1.30pm and will proceed into Gates Way. High Street will be closed during this time.

The march will then continue into Lytton Way, across the roundabout and down past Tesco Extra, finishing in Southgate at the edge of Stevenage town centre where an address by the EDL will take place.

After the address, participants will march back up Lytton Way, past Stevenage Railway Station and back up to the Old Town.

While the march is in progress, a rolling road block will be in place causing disruption to general traffic and some bus services.

The entrance and exit routes to the Tesco Extra car park and the railway station will also be restricted while the march progresses past these points.

The TUC march will start at Town Centre Gardens at around 1pm and will proceed along St George’s Way into Southgate car park where an address will take place and then the gathering will disperse.

Traffic will also be disrupted in this area during this time and St George’s Way will be closed while the march takes place.

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